Living Well: Spinal cord stimulation

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- If Barbara Belcher-Gray was asked to lift her knee a year ago, that wouldn’t have happened.

She was in terrible pain.

“I went to physical therapy, I had surgery, I had injections in my back,” says Belcher-Gray. “I could not get any relief.”

She’s tried just about everything to make the chronic pain go away.

Everyday tasks seemed nearly impossible for her, like doing laundry, watering plants, even going out for lunch.

“Is this all there is?” she asks. “You know, I hope I’ve got more to life than just sitting here in pain all the time.”

Barbara felt helpless at times but found her way to the Baptist Health Comprehensive Spine and Pain Clinic to get help.

“So many of the patients that I see have already tried and failed more conservative things,” says anesthesiologist Sheffield Kent.

Kent introduced Belcher-Gray to spinal cord stimulation. Kent says it’s an effective and drug-free way to treat chronic pain.

“A spinal cord stimulator uses small electrical current the same way our nerves communicate with themselves in the body to actually block pain signals,” Kent explains.

What makes the procedure so popular is spinal cord stimulation is safe and minimally invasive.

The results are even more enticing.

Kent says the therapy can improve quality of life, reduce how much medication you need and also help people get active.

“I would say probably 7, 8 hours a day, I have zero pain and do all the things I’ve always wanted to do,” Belcher-Gray says. “He gave me my life back, which I wanted back so bad.”

Whether it’s shopping or being outdoors, Barbara feels she’s in the driver’s seat again, taking control of her life.

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